I love a good road trip but often the dream of the time spent in the car with kids (and pets) and the reality are poles apart. Let’s face it, car trips can be really stressful resulting in us getting to our destination flustered, tired and grumpy. And who wants to start their holiday feeling like that?!
So to help make your next road trip adventure as stress free as possible, I’ve put together 5 tips I think will make a load of difference and help bring that road trip closer to the dream.
1. Pack the car well!
By this I don’t mean release your inner Jenga god and get everything into the boot but rather think about what you are packing and where it will go in the car. For example putting the pillow little Sally will need when she dozes off to sleep in the boot won’t be very helpful and dealing with her complaints of a sore neck will definitely dampen the joy in the coming holiday. Most of us pack in a hurry but taking the time and pre-planning can really reduce the stress on the trip.
2. Think of Some Games!
I know most of us will use the sanity devices of phones and iPads to while away some of the time on the road but allowing the kidlets to spend most of the trip on their devices will lead to sore necks, backs and even headaches which will again, eat into the joy of your vacation. So I recommend going Old School! Play I Spy or Spotto, tell jokes or my favourite – make up a story together (having each person add a sentence to the last leads to hilarious plots and story lines and can fill 30 minutes or so of a long drive with lots of laughter and great memories).
3. Avoid the Sugar!
I know it’s easy to reach for the lollies on a road trip, and for some it’s part of the tradition, but try and limit the amount of sugar rich treats in the car. Loading the kids with sugar while they’re constrained by seatbelts is a pending recipe for disaster (think of them after a party and now imagine that energy restrained inside the confines of your steel box for the next few hours and you’ll get the idea). Substitute some of the treats with oat bars, rice crackers, fruit and the like. I would never so no to lollies but limiting them (even for my Hubby) makes for a much happier road trip. Oh, and don’t forget the water!
4. Adjust Your Seat!
If you’re the driver think about your seat. Unlike your office chair where you can get up and move around, you are going to be sitting in this position for the next few hours. So setting it up well before you head off is important. To start, make sure you are close enough to the steering wheel so you can relax your shoulders and neck, straining forward increases tension and can often lead to headaches. Adjust the lumbar support to maintain your back support and make sure your feet comfortably reach the peddles. Being too far away causes you to slouch in the seat placing load on your lumbar spine resulting in back pain. Making sure you are well supported in the car seat will help you arrive with less discomfort and more energy.
5. Take Breaks!
This is an obvious one but often completely avoided by so many of us as we try to minimise the time on the road and maximise the time at our holiday destination. Unfortunately it often contributes to the exact opposite outcome as we arrive over-tired, sore, cranky and ready to take a hiatus from each other even before the holiday begins.
Taking breaks every 2 hours reduces the load on our muscles, revives our tired brain from concentrating on the road and gives the kids a chance to burn off some energy. Instead of seeing it as wasted time include it as part of the holiday. Take a break at that cafe and support a local business or stop and explore that park you’ve always driven past. Adding an hour or so to the length of your trip can keep you safe and add to the memories you are making with your family.
So there you have it, my top 5 tips. I hope by introducing just one of these you have a fantastic road trip with your family and make some wonderful memories to cherish for years to come.